Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas outing

Well, I have been a bit lapsing the past few days, I imagine that you will understand. But what better way to celebrate Christmas Eve with some photos of one of my very favorite small towns in Provence, Uzes. Originally a Roman settlement whose springs and sources provided water to nearby Nimes (including the stunning crossing of the Pont du Gard), the town grew as a center for weaving fabric. The wealthy business owners invested heavily in their homes, especially in the 16th century, creating architecture that writes the book on quiet elegance. Uzes is also home to one of the first Dukes of France. His family has lived in the castle for one thousand years--that might also be a reason that everything has been so beautifully preserved. A rarity and an utter bijoux or jewel.

A group of us piled in the Range Rover for the afternoon visit and to do a bit of holiday shopping at some very chic boutiques. Success! Which warranted a stop at Chez Cerise to warm up over either hot spiced wine or hot chocolate served by the wonderfully wacky owner. Just after sunset, we gathered together for the ride down to Nimes for a special apero at a friends house only to find that the ever so finicky Range Rover had cut off the engine completely after an electrical problem and we were stranded. I don't know why but this just knocked the wind out of me. It was just one of those days were I had wanted everything to be how it used to, surrounded by our funny and delightful friends. Luckily they remained so, even as the night turned colder and colder, taking the situation in hand. Let's hear it for insurance! Soon enough all five of us plus two dogs and mountains of packages were packed into a taxi and on our way for a wonderful evening. I am still a bit embarrassed by my lack of fortitude, after all, when things go wrong when Remi and I are doing a story who knows where I stay calm, but it showed me all the more how lovely my friends are. 

And so Remi and I returned again to charming Uzes to put the Range Rover safely on a tow away truck that blocked all traffic. We waved goodbye as it went (back to) the garage for repairs and took advantage of the situation to further explore.  On one of the tiniest hidden back streets we came across a sign "Tourists and visitors, please enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season"!

I love the decor on this doorway though am not sure what the turtle and cat are meant to represent. Uzes is a patina lovers dream town. Not everything has yet been renovated though there are busy teams working on nearly every street. We were told that thirty years ago, the streets were a little dangerous with many houses abandoned or shoddily kept up. 

I'll just let you take in the rest without too much explication. Hoping that you enjoy and are having a wonderful holiday season!

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